Edward Nahman Tilsen was born (presumably) in Vynohrad (Виноград, Vinograd, Winograd, Winorad) (49° 15' N 31° 45' E), about 20 miles northwest of Zvenigorodka near Kiev, Ukraine on 2 April 1891 to Hirshel "Harry" Teplitszky & Haya "Clara" Cohen. He married Esther Nesa Reuben on 31 December 1915. He died in St. Paul, MN, on 21 October 1984. Ed & Esther were buried in the Temple of Aaron cemetery in St. Paul, MN.
Pictured at right: Edward N. Tilsen, Bismarck, ND, 1914.
Residences included Ashley, ND (1917), Venturia, ND (1920), and New Leipzig, ND (1925, 1930). The family lived in Bismarck, ND (1931) and Iron Mountain, MI (abt. 1932-1934), before moving to St. Paul, MN (about 1935-1984).
Ed owned and operated "Tilsen's Cash Store" in New Leipzig, ND, from 1926 until about 1930. In the late 1930s, he started "Twin City Building & Improvement," which later became "Tilsenbilt Homes" and "Tilsen Homes." Following his retirement, the business was owned by his son Robert ("Bob"), and then Robert's son James ("Jim").
These are the children of Edward N. Tilsen & Esther N. Reuben.
- Mirel "Mimi" Adossa, born 2 March 1917, in Ashley, ND.
- Benjamin "Ben" Leonard, born 24 October 1918 in Ashley, ND; died 8 March 2009 in Northfield, MN.
- Jean Margaret, born 31 August 1921 in Elgin, MN; died 24 November 1997 in St. Paul, MN.
- Robert "Bob" Stanley, born 10 January 1925 in Bismarck, ND.
- Kenneth "Ken" Earl, born 4 November 1927.
Learn more about Ed Tilsen
- Read about Ed Tilsen, Pioneer of Open (desegregated) Housing, in "Families May Purchase New Homes on 'Open' Market for First Time," St. Paul Minnesota Recorder 21 May 1954
- Read about Ed as Pioneer of Open Housing in "Home Project Without Color Line Opens" from the Minneapolis Tribune 24 May 1954
- Read the account of Edward's Open Housing initiative in The National Real Estate & Building Journal May 1955
- See Eunice S. Grier, George W. Grier, Commission on Race and Housing, Privately Developed Interracial Housing: An Analysis of Experience, (University of California Press) 1960, p. 9: "The earliest commercial interracial housing project of which a record was found, and the first rental development as well, was built at the end of World War II by Edward Tilsen in Minnesota."
- See Harriet Harmon Dexter, What's Right with Race Relations, (Harper) 1958, p. 93.
- See H. Lynn Adelsman, "Desegregating South Minneapolis Housing: TilsenBilt Homes of 1954," Hennepin History, Spring 2005, pp. 24-34.
For more information contact Jon-Jay Tilsen at email@example.com